Rocky Runs to Victory and Those Pesky Hills

 

IMG_2747

I’ve always enjoyed walking! It’s such a great time to make new discoveries, enjoy God’s creation all around me, and enjoy time with My Creator!

There’s a path that I love to walk as I place my headphones in my ears, turn up my music, and start moving! My church has a rather large campus, and there’s no place I enjoy walking more than the pavement that surrounds it. It’s hard to explain really but I get this overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility. It could be because there’s no noisy traffic, no dogs chasing me, and no one around. I can simply walk, sing, and worship! It has often been my personal retreat when things got hard in my life and my tears have often floated upon it as much as the fallen rain.

As beautiful and quiet as it is, there’s one part of the trail that my legs have grown to dislike quite a bit, the lower parking lot. Better known to my body as the torture path! It’s really not as bad as my body whines about it being, but there is quite an incline on the way back up. These would be the moments that I have to press on a little harder with a little more focus.

During those uphill trudges when I want to stop, give up and sit down, it’s through God’s eyes that I have to look at the path before me. My eyes feel as if they are blind past the image of the climb, but His eyes see what He has for me far beyond the rough spots. I know that when I reach the top of the hill, it’s His strength that got me there, and I can stand in victory of the rising ground with my very own Rocky moment! Can’t you just hear the music playing all around as it echoes when we get to the top? Grab that visual with me in Rocky’s Victory Dance and hold on to it…

Okay, so maybe that’s just a tad bit over zealous, but hey what an imagination, right!? As we watch all of those people run with him and make the path with him right up to those stairs, what an amazing feeling to know we have God and His army with us every pound of the pavement and through every rough road! I can just imagine Jesus on that top step celebrating with us to our own melody of triumph!

Sometimes what God asks us to walk through in this life isn’t the walk we would choose for ourselves, but it’s one that allows us to make new discoveries about Him and who He is that maybe we wouldn’t have known otherwise. I don’t want to just walk in life, I want to run in faith and with perseverance because I know Who I’m walking with, and Who I’m running to! Just like Rocky did, I want to take off and go for it!

No matter where our walk takes us we can know without a shadow of a doubt that He’s always with us. There’s not one step that we take that His foot isn’t right beside ours. Every rock, every stone, every piece of piercing glass, He’s there! Just as He has led the Israelites through tough times, He leads us. It’s not what we’re walking on, but who we’re walking with. It truly is the only thing that gets me through without giving up or quitting!

I was reminded of this verse when my weaknesses bubbled up and flesh cried out during some of the tough walks of my life when I didn’t know what was ahead of us, and it found a place to settle deep in my heart, “And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16. 

Victory is ours because we are His!

ROCKY 4

Lord, when our walks become uphill trudges, remind us of Your truths and Your promises to never leave us. Lead us through these paths that we do not know, and guide us as you turn our darkness into Your light, and our rough places to level ground. Thank You for being faithful and never forsaking us, and for leading us to victory! ~In Jesus Name, Amen

Orange Alerts, Stinging Truths, and Restful Promises

 

serviceenginesoon

Maybe I wasn’t quite getting the message…CODE ORANGE!

One Monday morning just a few short months ago as I started my car I noticed this bright orange light that said SERVICE ENGINE SOON. If I’m being completely honest my first response went something like this, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” You see, it hadn’t been long since the last warning light was on.  So starting my early Monday morning off with a yet another display of bright lights didn’t exactly make me smile.

God quickly reminded me to stay calm and just as He did, I settled in my heart that I will not let this color of orange change the color of my heart this morning. As time passed and I was driving in to begin my day, I glanced down at the dashboard and felt God speaking a truth into my heart that sincerely stung.

I had been dealing with piercing headaches that would come and go and would bring a nasty friend named nausea that didn’t want to depart. I thought maybe I was coming down with something. In the pit of my soul, I felt that it was something else, and I dare not name it. But at that moment driving, God named it for me and as He did I felt a sting in the depths of my heart as I heard the whisper that shouted, Stress!

Here’s how the conversation went the next few moments: “What, Lord? Stress? No, I’m not stressed, I feel fine. I mean I know that I have been dealing with this, and dealing with that, and I mean I know I haven’t been sleeping the best but Lord, my mind won’t shut down and it just keeps racing. And Lord, I, I, I, I, I…” It was like a never-ending echo. I felt Him saying, “You, you, you, you have been trying to handle things on your own. I know everything you’re facing, dealing with, and I see what’s being thrown at you. I see and know everything that has touched your life, but I haven’t left you. I’m right here Babygirl!”

Ouch! His words weighed heavily yet made my heart feel much lighter! He was right, I was trying to carry a load on my own, a load that He didn’t ask me to carry. Somewhere along the way I began picking up loads that He didn’t call me to because I was getting caught up in demands that He didn’t place on me. He was incredibly faithful to speak truth into my heart that morning, a truth that I believe if my heart would get, my body would be thankful for.

Those three words to service engine soon was something that God used to remind me to service my heart soon. My heart desperately desired to be serviced by the One who can carry life’s troubles for me, who can heal the hurt, fill in the gaps, and replace the enemies lies with life altering truth. Spending time in His Word and with Him reminds my soul that it cannot waver in what He has called me to. It’s His calling that I have answered therefore, it’s His way that I am to do things.

When we let the demands of anything other than God’s call dictate our direction we lose our way, our focus and our strength. When we let the call of God dictate our direction He guides our way, shifts our focus, and supplies us with strength. God was speaking to my heart, but I guess I hadn’t been quite getting the message. I am grateful that His love reaches and extends to cover us where we are most vulnerable.

As much as I would love to believe that I will never face this issue again,  I know the weaknesses of my flesh. However, I am praying that when it does arise, my heart and mind will recall the precious words God has spoken in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Lord, help us to bring our hearts and our minds to You and let You fill us, service us, and cleanse us. Help us to recognize when we’re carrying a load that You didn’t ask us to carry, and even more give us the strength to sit it down at Your feet, and simply trust Your direction for our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen~

To read about my first fun warning light issue, click here.

 

Untangled somewhere between the frying pan and the phone

tangled

 

Have you ever rushed out your front door and began to feel a panic rush over you when you realize you can’t find your cell phone, then you tell the person you’re talking to on the phone, and quickly have to stop and laugh because you realize what just happened? Nah, me either! If only that was true, too many times too count! I had a moment kind of like that yesterday…

Soon after writing my last post, I realized that what I thought I hadn’t received yet was staring back at me with the biggest eyes, well okay and it hit me upside the head! God was starting to untangle me.

As I typed the words of my last post I felt my heart do this tricky little flip just as I wrote that God hadn’t gave me my one word yet. I was perfectly content with that because I knew I was focusing on Him and that was what I needed now more than anything. As time passed, I began feeling like God was telling me that He had given it to me. Faithful like He is, He has confirmed it in multiple ways!

As I sat in church yesterday listening to what I have been eagerly anticipating for weeks, I heard His voice say it one more time, and I knew what I was hearing was it! Words spoken from the heart of God fall upon our hearts like a garden soaking up the rains when we recognize where the steady fall is flowing from!

My word this year is more than a word, it is the Word, God! This year He simply wants me to focus on Him and only Him. As my Pastor talked about a great start beginning with the commitment to drawing nearer to God, I felt that heart flipping excitement going on! What my Pastor had to say wasn’t the first time I felt God speaking that to me but I think it was finally the frying pan hitting me on the head telling me the phone has been on my ear all along because at that very moment I wanted to shout! Clearly I couldn’t do that without distracting the entire sea of people sitting in that room with me, so I simply smiled and shouted within!

The truth of the matter was I lost my focus quite often last year for multiple reasons and I know the distractions came from the enemy of soul and flesh. I felt God beckoning me last Summer to regain my focus. Time with Him is always a top and first priority and though my heart knew that, my mind kept giving it a busy signal. Oh that annoying sound! The demands of other voices seemed to have won the battle and drowned the call of my weary heart and body. Even though I know what happens when God’s priorities of time with Him fall further down the list, I was guilty of letting it slip.

As Fall quickly approached I decided to take that falling time and let it rise to the top. I knew if I didn’t make God’s priorities my priorities once again, nothing I did would matter. I took a break from Facebook, watched less TV, and began soaking up more time with God and my family. It didn’t take long to begin feeling the shift of our hearts aligning once again. So why stop there?

Life gets busy, crazy, and hectic, but our souls always need time with the One who created them and gave us life! As hard as it is sometimes to break away from the world and all that’s in it, it’s such a life-giving breath of fresh and renewed air! There will always be something or someone demanding our time, our attention, and to do things their way in their time, but there will always be a greater need to let our first breath be the one that draws near to God.

What’s demanding your time and attention the most? Whatever it is, your life will be more effective and more God honoring when you start it after you breathe deeply with Him! Life has a funny way of demanding us to breathe, so let’s respire to be inspired!

“You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.” ~Isaiah 26:3 HCSB

Leaving behind what’s not ours…

road

Leaving behind…

Here we are, we’ve rolled into a brand new year! The biggest question that seems to float in my mind is where did the last one go? I believe what my parents told me when I was younger has proved to be true, the older you get the faster time seems to fly by!

I admit, usually by the second day into the new year I have already figured out what God’s one word for me is and have a list of things that I hope to make progress in, but I haven’t. The last couple of weeks of 2014 have been spent attempting to determine what do I need to leave behind and what I need to take with me. This has been a bigger journey of heart checks and self evaluations than it has of any material inventory!

My feet have been trying to pull themselves out of the quick sand that has quickly surrounded them, and my mind, well, that could be a whole other blog! Wasted time? Absolutely not! God has really been speaking to me in ways that I have been praying for and even though some things might not be easy to hear and even squeeze a little “Ouch!” out of me, it’s all for benefit and profit!

Every word He has spoken I am hanging on to! There’s no one that knows me inside and out quite like my Creator does, and mercy, on most days I’m thankful for that! My thoughts, feelings, and emotions are enough to scare me some days so I couldn’t imagine any other poor soul having to feel, think, or hear them! One of the biggest things God has shown me this past year and really hammered into the depths of my soul the last couple of weeks is that I have let too many outside things affect me! So much in fact, that I wasn’t letting Him affect me! What room did He have left to affect me when so much of these outside things were taking up all the room as if they were claiming me as their own?

He has so tenderly reminded me of the words that send chills through me like a winter snow every time I hear them, and oh how I long to hear them, I am His! I am His and He is mine and because of that unshakable truth I don’t have to let anything affect me more than He is. But if I am being completely honest, I let way too many things do just that. I have wondered in the last year what happened to that confident girl who used to live inside this shell of a body? She knew who she was and whose she was and that was how she viewed everything in life. Being the faithful Father that He is, He’s been showing me what happened to her and more importantly how to get her back, and the bad news for the enemy is, she’s feeling more determined than ever!

So I’m thinking that maybe in the coming days God will send me my one word to focus on this year, and my heart is fully content with that. Right now, more than ever, He needs to be my focus above all, and maybe, just maybe, that’s the whole purpose of it all!

What God is sending me is reminders that not everything that comes my way is mine, it’s not mine to feel, it’s not mine to process, and it’s not mine to carry with me. There’s just some things that need to be left behind and anything that’s not ours, anything God given or ordained, is definitely on that list. Knowing that we’re His is knowing that He is Sovereign over all and at all times!

Are you carrying something with you into the new year that’s not yours? Maybe it’s feelings, emotions, thoughts, or maybe even something that you are carrying physically and literally. Let’s move forward together in leaving it behind so we can take hold of what is ours, whatever it is that God desires for us, and most importantly, Him!

Maybe you’ve been feeling like I have lately, and maybe you need to be reminded that you are His! Can I share with you one of my favorite songs and one of my favorite verses? The song, it can be heard in my car just about on any given day with me singing it just as loud as my lungs will possibly let me and my verse, it stays pretty close to my heart!

Spoken For – Mercy Me

“But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” ~Isaiah 43:1

Lord, I pray that today and every day going forward that you breathe life in to us that we focus on you more than anything or anyone. Help us to move all the stuff out-of-the-way that tries to take up residence in what’s Yours, our lives! In Jesus Name, Amen~